What is Family Wellbeing?

Health and well-being start and end with mental wellbeing. However, if we are a member of a family and we live together, our mental health is directly proportional to our family wellbeing. It encompasses most of the things in our daily lives and it is everybody’s responsibility from parents to children. Family Wellbeing is not just eating the right food and spending time together. There are many other aspects that we need to consider if we want to increase our family wellbeing. Before getting into those issues which we will cover in the following articles, let’s try to understand the basic social unit of our world.

credit: networkofwellbeing.org

Family is the basic social unit. Family represents people living together by ties of marriage, blood or adaptation, thus representing a single household. According to sociology, the family has the primary function of reproducing society; biologically, socially, or both. There are various structures of a family based on the relationship shared between the parent and the children. The different types of family are patrifocal, where the family consists of a father and his child; matrifocal, where the family consists of a mother and her child. Consanguineal family is one which consists of the mother, the child and other people, mainly belonging to the family of the mother. The conjugal family consists of one or more mothers and their children, with other people and one or more spouses.

The parent-child relationship varies due to different cultures. One of the prominent forms is the nuclear family. It consists of the marital pair living with their offspring separately. The joint family is an extension of the nuclear family. Joint family occurs when children of one sex live at their parents’ house. In a joint family, the children bring along their spouse to live with them at their parents’ house after marriage. A joint family usually consists of an older man and his wife, his sons and unmarried daughters, his sons’ wives and children. Members of a joint family share all the task of trade, food gathering and preparation and child rearing.

Children who share one parent but not another are called “half–brothers” or “half–sisters”. Children who do not share parents, but whose parents are married, are called “step-brothers” or “step-sisters”. Similarly, if a person is married to the parent of a child, but is not the parent of the child themselves; they are called “stepfather” or “stepmother”.

A complex family involves more than two adults. It refers to any extended family or to polygamy of any type. A joint family is also known as a complex family. The parents and their children in a joint family live together under a single roof. In a joint family setup, the womenfolk are often housewives and cook for the entire family. The patriarch of the family is usually the oldest male member, who lays down the rules of the family. This kind of setup is fast eroding in many parts of the world. Almost all the urban families are switching over to the nuclear family society.

Now that we have an understanding of what a family is, and in recognition of the importance of total family wellbeing let’s jump into some very basic tips on increasing our family wellbeing.

* Make sure that your family eats breakfast. According to several studies, children who consume a healthy breakfast meet their nutritional needs, keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and have fewer stomach problems than kids who skip breakfast.

* Involve your children in planning meals. Meals planned in advance tend to be healthier. Teach your children to read and learn from nutritional labels while grocery shopping to plan healthy meals.

* Have family meals together. Eating meals as a family allows parents to ensure that children are eating nutritional foods and offers emotional and behavioral benefits. For busy nights, consider dining out as a family at a restaurant with healthy options on both the children’s and adults’ menus. Bob Evans Restaurants have developed an extensive children’s menu with healthy choices such as turkey, spaghetti and meatballs, carrots, green beans, applesauce, and fruit.

* Involve the whole family in activities. Cardiac experts recommend that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Becoming active as a family is as easy as joining your children in bicycling, miniature golf, bowling, ice skating or walking.

(These quick tips are mostly from Bob Evans)

In this article, we talked about family wellbeing and tips to improve it. As you read, family wellbeing is a supplement to our overall personal wellbeing. Thus, we cannot ignore it and we won’t…

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